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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 30, 2009 2:30am-3:00am EDT

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final exam, a student who's@@bas out to be a bit of a cad pressing his business card on the pretty young women in england that walk by. you say to this simple buddhist monk and i quote, he had been more appealing when i knew nothing at all about him and was free to project all of my hopes, my accumulated fairy tales upon him. you could be writing about the dalai lama in that task and perhaps you are trying to write about someone who is up on a
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pedestal. is there the danger that the more you learn about them and the more you find out, though more you are disillusioned and wish you left the subject alone and you could have left the dalai lama up there in the pedestal in the mind of readers or do you feel it's important to examine what is on the pedestal? >> i think it's important to examine because his favorite herbs or explore, investigate, research and analyze the you are right i did have that apprehension and i thought i've known him 25 years and i have had a good impression. maybe if i go deeper i will see some discrepancy or smudge or shadow and wish i hadn't seen it and i was surprised after five years of research camaguey respectable and i think part of his great power obviously -- >> [inaudible] >> i see absolute integrity, solidity. that is to say whatever ankle you approach, political, monastic, human, he's like a
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tree with deep roots and he's always exactly the same person and whether he's going to the white house or talking to the monks he's voicing the same principles but different applications have rarely in my life that the degree of integrity to use integrity in the sense of wholeness and consistency. i found while i was researching this on an account my father wrote meeting that dalai lama -- i think part of the power is to take himself off the pedestal. if he were here on the stage right now, you and i might be a little daunted to see the leader of tibetans and the buddhist monk and somehow he would pull out your beard or tweak your ear or something so very quickly you would forget that he is a leader or such an abysmal person and -- >> host: and the laugh, don't forget the laugh. i was going to ask, it's real, right? >> it's very real. >> it comes from a deep freeze in his belly i suspect. >> it does and to put people at
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ease and say i am not a man who knows everything. yesterday at the event in new york he was with mary robinson, former president of ireland and asking good questions as was the audience and over and over he would say i don't know. people would ask what is the future of tibet and he would say i can't tell the future more than you can. he said part of my title internet is the all knowing and so i have the provocative to say i actually don't know many things. >> is there the danger of being intimidated? i know i would be intimidated by the dalai lama sitting down with him, interviewing, talking with him. are you able to challenge him and when someone's title is his holiness it seems like it might be a bit intimidating. in the many conversations you had with him, have you challenged him on his positions and is he receptive? >> he likes nothing more and in fact i did that is one of the joys of him being in exile because as long as he was into that they don't challenge and
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they do regard him as incarnation of regard to it wouldn't just be catholics with the pope but catholics with jesus christ, there wouldn't be ever inclined. they wouldn't even look at him and he has had trouble finding translators. because for the tibetans articulating the words of a god is too daunting. so as soon as he meets you or me he is looking to be challenged, and part of his practice is debating, which means he takes this position and he wants you to take the opposite position. i think he likes nothing more than being opposed she would make you feel you were talking to me or a old friend. >> i would like to talk for a second out his celebrity status rocks are the likes of which i can't think of an example, mother teresa, who is a longer with us, perhaps. you knew him as you described, before, when he was a simple buddhist monk for the most part.
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and i know that if i became that famous it would go to my head probably. and i would be incorrigible to some extent. and it would change me. do you think that celebrity has changed the dalai lama? >> no because he has an advantage neither of us had that he is born as a god. if anything he began as a god and now he is immortal and he began surrounded by 6 million people who wouldn't even look at him and now he's surrounded by thousands who see him as one of tracie and, many different things. so in some way i had a long series of conversations in 1996 just before seven years into that during the movie's about his life and he did say you know, he said with bewilderment some people think of me as a celebrity. he could barely get his mind are rounded -- around it.
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he stressed in flip-flops' and will tie his leases and will prevent as if he is in an natural museum and it's a way of saying i'm nothing special. >> it reminds me of gondhi who famously a right to meet george was it and he was meeting his loincloth and nothing else and the british press jumped on him and said why are you dressed like that when meeting the king and he said the team is bringing in of clothing for both of us. [laughter] suppose it is something like that. since you're father was a scholar of blondie and you are well versed in gondhi do you see similarities? here are two giant man who adamantly believed in non-violence trying to liberate their people. do you see similarities or are there more differences? >> that's a beautiful question. no one has asked me that. if the dalai lama were here he would say my first president, teacher and god is on the.
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if -- i don't know if you have been there but if you notice when you go into a bookshop there's a picture of the dalai lama and gandhi and the prime minister with whom i talked for this book he said all we want to do is follow the gandhian way. he was good of seeing people as a teacher but gandhi would be the political teacher. >> has the ever swayed from the dalai lama or has he been consistent? >> key is and he can't because that is what his vowels, so that would be like the pope endorsing satan or something, that couldn't happen. but he understands the rest of us who are not monks might feel a confrontational approach might do something else you know, especially in recent months she's been saying let policies failed and the chinese treatment has only gotten harsh and there have been no short-term victories at all. >> gandhi also considers himself a failure. so i guess they have that in
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common. how does the dalai lama sinnott these young tibetans who are saying just that? that this is failed, this hasn't worked. we have to try something else. not violence but may be a more confrontational approach with china. what is his answer to that and is it an answer that is satisfactory to the young and restless tibetan diaspora? >> his answer first is anything you do confrontational is going to be more suffering to tibetans and tibet and the chinese in tibet. you may not feel the consequences of your cousins will feel them worse. second he is the one tibetan exiles who knows china inside and out. he spent a year in beijing in 1954. so he knows china historically has never been very receptive to the outside and it's a prideful country and distinct full country and he says to these people if you read a gandhi
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march to the border to you think is going to cause the beijing leadership to say we made a mistake we will give you to that? piece is fine, do it but what do you think it will achieve? nothing. he's a realist and knows the chinese are realists and the have no motivation for easing up on tibet and a big difference between his situation and gandhi's is the one advantage gandhi had against the british as the force of numbers and so if 10% of india went on strike in 1933 it could begin to unsettle the british economy. if 100% of the tibetans go on strike tomorrow, 6 million against in the country of 1.3 billion it will achieve nothing. and the final thing i will say, which actually touched me and i asked him about his future and the first thing he mentioned was not china, not to bet that india and said we are only allowed to be in india as spiritual refugees said to make mischief in india would be like me coming to stay at your house tonight and then propagating terrorist
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attacks around washington whereby you as a generous host fallen to the line of fire. >> i wonder how those relations are. when i was there in the 1990's there was tension in the area right where the dalai lama lives between these indians who see and you describe this in your book, you know, these indian shop keepers, these men seeing these tibetans who have had a wife raise this, this appeal with the young women backpackers they want to get to know tibetan culture, let's say. [laughter] >> hands on, yes. -- there's a bit in the n.v. and jealousy, then read exiles have more charisma than the indians. i don't know how recently you have been back. how does that stand now. are things rather tense or have they are things out? >> i think you are right, there always will be tension. there have been fistfights and small disruptions, and yes, i
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think that there is no way around that and i can understand that tibetans to have a very special status and i can understand it among other minority groups in china who will say tibet gets more press and has such a famous and university beloved free leader. >> you have written a lot over the years as one of your favorite topics and i'm wondering has the dalai lama really the tibetan cause been helped by the forces of globalization or some ways hindered by a would you say? on the one hand you have the dalai lama flying all around the world. you have internet and e-mail, the diaspora is able to stay in touch. on the ever had, and i was thinking about this just before we came up here, you know, china seems able to resist pressure on to get largely because of its growing economic might.
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we are biting their stuff, they are biding their bonds. we don't want to rock the boat. and that is the least of globalization as well, so i suppose you could argue both ways. what do you think? >> i think overall it's been beneficial to the tibetans. house using, tibet has gone global. this place when my parents were growing of no one had ever really seen or met a tibetan and now it's part of every neighborhood and a woven into the fabric of many lives. also in terms of information and intelligence, although tebet has disappeared behind a black curtain the last 14 months we know what's going on in tibet and china more than ten years ago and they know what is going on in the rest of the world. in terms of china's might even win china was less mighty in the 60's or 70's no one was standing up to china and i ask the dalai lama once what is the most difficult part of your job and without hesitation he said meeting the politicians because realistically i know that they want to talk to me and they all in their hearts behind tibet but none of us came to stand up to
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china. i can't see they ever would. he said i can't not meet with them. i have to go through the motions of meeting with them but i don't imagine they are going to jeopardize their own economic interest just to help this tiny country of 6 million people. >> so you are thinking his policies are a feel your? >> no, i think that he's right in the sense that politicians are pragmatists therefore no one is going to divide china excepted country with no power already. >> the reviews of your book have been overwhelmingly positive but there's always the occasional critique. i want to share with you one of those. one review said he didn't really present the chinese version of the defense or the china's side of the story. do you feel that there is any truth to that and do you feel like you were somehow obliged in this kind of book to prison the chinese version of the defense? >> that's a very good point and i didn't, you are right. partly because much of china's criticism and celebration of what has happened in tibet is exactly the dalai lama's point
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of view. he's the first tibetan to say that tibet was imperfect and to say thank you, china, for bringing these needed improvements to the country. so when china says it's brought tibet out of the dark ages there is truth to that and i think the dalai lama -- in fact the dalai lama says every tibetan wants to be part of china. he applauds china's great economic development and says we are so lucky to be part of this fast-moving engine. it doesn't mean we should lose our rights in the process but he's celebrated the olympic games and the trade. and the other thing i must say the last time i was in her lhasa, some of the sweetest and most engaging people i met with the chinese settlers who were going to be shopkeepers or taxi drivers or whatever and my heart really goes out to them because they are living it very difficult situation. 15,000 feet up, surrounded by people who don't want them to be there. they were of course -- when they were up the demonstrations and a hot sun of last month the first people the dalai lama prefer in the temple with the chinese because he felt terrible that a
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day, innocent people were the victims of tibetans perhaps understandable outrage. ..@@@ you really started falling and interviewing him. what surprised you, or were
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there no surprises? or is it that he is pretty much the way i thought he was or where there aspects of his persona that you were like well, i didn't realize that? >> a very good question. as i was saying before i was most surprised by his consistency. that is because the message which is really monastic-- [inaudible] >> in a monk, in a normal monk way i would say because he meditates nine hours a day and i think part of what that does is make certain things reflections as natural as breathing. >> nine hours? >> subway the e pick up the glass when you or thirsty or the bottle, he instantly is tending to you. i met him for example the day after he won the nobel prize and typically he was in los angeles going through meetings with scientists and this is the sum he grabbed me by the hand, took us off into a little room and
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this went into the room the first thing he did was try to find a chair. would you be comfortable here? as it by word-- is not is that he is thinking about kind is. it is just instinct so he has worked to my mind very impressively at thinking about other people. >> i think you see that when you see him on stage. he is so unselfconscious. he will play a round with his robe and-- >> it is very disarming. i have seen him and people of seen him. they expect him to be reverential and distant and yet he is warm and genuine and puts people at ease. >> you phrased it bright beautifully, there is no court to drop. >> okay, let's take some questions. i'm having a little trouble seeing but i can see you. what is your question please? >> before 1950, before the dalai lama went away from china, he
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was the leader of tibet. what do you think of the work, what you think of his work during that period of time? >> a very good question. of course he was only 14 years old when the chinese arrived, so really he didn't have much of a chance to get a full program going. the previous dalai lama had outlined tibet this is the key to reform and tried to send tibetan students to boarding school in england, he set up the postal service, he tried to do lots of things to bring tibet into the modern world and then he died at the relatively young age and suddenly a 4-year-old took over. a dalai lama is a performance that hard and quite radical but he never got the chance to implement that and i think sometimes i gather just as he was planning to change tibet, he had to leave it in tibet got kind of turned on its head so from the aged 15 to when he fled in 24 at the age of 24, he was
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really just trying to deal with what was going on in china, and so he was on the same course he is on now. but thank you for the question. >> he had to slaves. >> well, he says that tibet was an not democratic enough, that tibet does that feudalism in its passive when the chinese people say that, they are not wrong, and so i think that is one of the reasons he has been so happy about being in exile. orteig can implement full democracy and say we are equal and in fact the's himself. he dethroned himself since he arrived in exile. >> i know the dalai lama is now in the '70s i believe, and i hate to ask the question, but i think it is on many people's minds, what happens? >> a very good question and the same question he has been asking since he was 34 years old.
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>> address that in 1969 and is most of you know if there is the 15th dalai lama the child, boy or girl will be born in exile but recently i spent much of november with him in japan and he said then, the dalai lama institution has outlived its usefulness for. if it serve their wonderful function but now there is a new set of circumstances that require new solutions and my guess e will appoint somebody from around him in the exile community until these people disperse and as a person is extending my vision, whether not it was the name of the dalai lama and probably he or she will not bear the name of the dalai lama but he is artist said in to place the mechanism for his succession. >> other questions? dome be shy. >> under media, influences i hear people talking about tibet as it tibet should be a separate
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country. do you agree with this view? >> no, and abet the dalai lama since 1987 refuses to say free tibet. visas save tibet mndb no, once upon a time he spoke about independence the starting in '87 he said autonomy is all i want, a genuine and meaningful autonomy whereby beijing could control the defense affairs and foreign affairs but just the buttons could have control of their religion and their culture and their local trade as it were. partly because the rett principle of budhism is independent so for him and makes sense that tibet should be part of china. and that china gain something from having this rich, deep ancient tradition within its boundaries and tibet has something to gain from being part of one of the world's great ancient, huge nations. >> a question over here. >> just a follow-up, do you see any reason for optimism that china will accept this view, the
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reports from the talks and the arts pessimistic. is there really any chance china will grant-- do you see aipac? >> i don't see what the path, what form it will take part of the dalai lama always says short-term, no hope long-term debt and a resolution and i think he has great faith that some point, who knows it is five years or 50 years more and more people coming to power in beijing to take a more realistic or sensible view and see that actually china has a lot to gain in terms of pr and in terms of its legacy. it has nothing to fear from tibet. tibet in population talk terms is the same as idaho and it would win the affection of the world, if it eased up a little. as you probably remember as a journalist in the 1980's to the main chinese leaders were in fact-- apologize to tibetans on behalf of what had been done to
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them and he showed a great interest in buddhist affairs. bus of them might well turn things around and then tienanmen square happen and those of them got purged. tienanmen square set it back but i think the dalai lama knows that there are other such people in the chinese leadership evin we think differently from the party line and its some point they will get that chance. >> in the back here. >> the dalai lama is quite a successful author in terms of sales of books though he doesn't seem to have much in the way of material needs. what is to do with all that money? how was that managed? >> you would be surprised that most of his books have not sold that much except for his collaboration with howard cutler, the art of happiness but of course he is successful in the sense that so many people around the world want to contribute to the tibetan cause and he's very scrupulous about making sure it finds its way to the places that need. when i met him the day after his nobel prize, after finding a chair in which i would be comfortable, he looked across at
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me and said i want all this money, what should i do? i was barely out of my 20s, i did not a clue. he was soliciting the advice of everybody and in fact ultimately weisser people then i advised him and he gave so much money to mother theresa, some to africa to help the hungry, some to costa rica to set up a university for peace but i think he always feels his family is essentially a global family and tries to give all the money to tibetans. one curiosity about his scrupulousness there is when he is upset the people charge a lot of money for his appearances for his teachings and when he gives public teachings at the income he requests the close to stand up in front of the entire audience and account for every penny. i saw this happen in santa barbara. the person went through all the money they spend and all the money they earned and had to come clean in public before 5,000 people as well as the dalai lama. >> buddy does help raise money for the tibetan cause.
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wide visi troublesome much? >> well, he is more concerned about raising supporter raising concern, and he travels for two reasons. one, because he has done people enjoy listening to him and there is some virtue in sharing what he calls nonreligious secular ethics. to cup, to draw attention to the people in tibet for voiceless in the offences lamb not the leader, i am just the voice of those people because they don't have a voice. >> when he was meditating for nine hours a day woody be less effective as a leader? >> probably. >> and twittering the world too. >> yes, he had time. as i was saying before, he finds meeting politicians does not lead to a fruitful results but he feels he has to do them and not to do them in some ways is neglecting his people so when it comes to washington he always says washington is the one place is coming with political motives
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and he is coming to break the deadlock and to find a sympathetic friends. >> one more question here. >> soul the idea is that the the outside pressure on china backfires because they get these sons of, so how you work this issue if you are concerned about tibet? i mean, what is the way forward? >> i am clearly in an audience of public policy wisemen and that is a very good question. as a buddhist, he sees change coming incrementally one person at a time. bringing information out of tibet, bringing information to china, i think he sees all of those not having dramatic results to transform the situation overnight but ultimately, working to the better of the tibetans. one striking, one striking moment that i experienced 18 months ago when i was traveling across japan with him, and we
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ended up the 24th floor conference room. there were 60 people seated in shares and as soon as the dalai lama walked in, they all fell and began sobbing. gis sat in a chair and officed-- offered buddhist wisdom. vale said on the floor as he was talking and when he was finished that all clustered around him just to get a blessing. every single one of those people is on chinese from the people's republic of china and one thing that one does not see much in the news is the 100,000 chinese practitioners outside. i think he sees change happening in that way. chinese individuals waking up to the situation in tibetans knowing more about china. when the demonstrations broke out last year, to me the most troubling thing was not the tibetans risking their lives but the many chinese who risked their lives in tibet. you remember there is a petition sent to beijing with 34 chinese calling and beijing to bring an
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outside authority to see what was happening in start talks with the dalai lama. again not a dramatic thing but i think he sees change happening in those ways. >> a final question over here. >> i am a local resident in the area. i just wanted to ask, first of all thank you pico for your always incredibly articulate thoughts on his holiness and it tibet nation generally. i think you have done such a beautiful job in the push for consistently and non-violent path, and they think tibet might worry about increasing kind of impatience among the younger-- i wonder, because you have had such a privilege point of view, having spent a lot more time as
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most ordinary tibetans put together, what do you think are some of the practical ways that would like to see his vision actuated? >> the end of the last sentence? >> what a sum of the precht aways you think his holiness would like to see his vision actuated? >> actuated, yes. yes, and i'm embarrassed to be talking about tibet in front of tibetans, much more than i do. and come in many people i was just before coming here, i was talking to a gentleman who was a longtime correspondent for "the christian science monitor" and he said, it behooves the chinese government to talk to this dalai lama precisely because every other tibetan is both more militant, more aggressive, less forgiving and much less seasoned. >> of the thing that is easy to forget is the dalai lama knows the


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